cod. 1004812

Academic year 2015/16
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Zootecnica generale e miglioramento genetico (AGR/17)
Discipline della zootecnica, allevamento e nutrizione animale
Type of training activity
64 hours
of face-to-face activities
5 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
in - - -

Learning objectives

The course aims to enable the student to know and understand the basics of the genetic transmission of traits, genetic improvement and ethnology, in order to acquire items for the selection of the breeding stock (1st Dublin indicator). The student must then be put in a position to apply the knowledge through problem solving (2nd Dublin indicator). The students must come to demonstrate their independence of judgment (3rd Dublin indicator) in the application of knowledge to the genetic improvement of animal populations, making choices for the correct management of animal populations, in particular for those with a limited size. Participation in the courses should provide students with a good command of the language (4th Dublin indicator), lied also to the discussion that is favoured by the teacher. In general, the course has the objective of increasing the student's ability to learn, through discussion of the practical applications of genetic improvement in the main breeds (5th Dublin indicator).


Having attended the course "Fisica applic.,matem.di base applic.scienze biomed., biologica" and passed the the exam

Course unit content

The first part of the course covers the topics of discussion of basic genetics (DNA, RNA, genes, chromosomes, Mendel's laws, exceptions to Mendel's laws, sex-linked inheritance, multiple allelism, lethal genes).
The second part concerns the genetic improvement (infinitesimal genetic model, heritability, phases of a breeding program, evaluation of a program of genetic improvement, relationships, inbreeding and crossing).
The third part concerns the study of ethnology (breeds of the major livestock species).

Full programme

The livestock systems for the production of meat, milk and other animal products.

DEMOGRAPHY (2 hours)
The structure of animal populations.

Outline of genetic transmission of characters. Mendelian heredity (qualitative characteristics, laws of Mendel, gene interaction and deviation from expected Mendelian relationships, sex determination and sex-linked inheritance, lethal genes, multiple allelism).
Principles of population genetics (concept of gene frequency and genotypic, Hardy-Weinberg law).

Brief references to statistical concepts (probability, variance, covariance, correlation and regression). Quantitative traits (variability, composition of phenotypic variability, environmental variability, additive and non-additive effect of genes, heritability, repeatability). Organization of selection in Italy (stud books, genealogical registers, hybrid breeding pigs). The functional recording of animal products. The relationships. Methods for estimating the genetic value of breeders (performance testing, sib test, progeny test, pedigree index, BLUP-animal model, genomic selection). Direct and indirect selection, genetic progress, selection for multiple traits. Reproduction methods: inbreeding and crossbreeding. Application of genetic improvement to major livestock production (cattle: milk and meat, pig: meat). Management of animal populations with limited diffusion.

General characteristics, origin, evolution, distribution and inventory of breeds:
- Dairy cattle breeds, beef and dual purpose (meat and milk);
- Sheep breeds reared in Italy according to the prevailing attitudes; foreign sheep breeds of most interest to the Italian breeder;
- Goat breeds;
- Pig breeds;
- Horse breeds;
- Classification of dog breeds.


BITTANTE G., ANDRIGHETTO L., RAMANZIN M.: Fondamenti di Zootecnica. Liviana Ed., Padova, 1990

CALAMARI L., FAVERZANI S.: Atlante delle razze bovine (CD ROM)

PAGNACCO G.: Genetica applicata alle produzioni animali. Città Studi Ed., Milano, 1997.
PIERCE B.A.: Genetica, Zanichelli Ed., 2003.

Teaching methods

The course is based on lectures, during which, alongside the theoretical part, basic genetic problems will be proposed and how to solve them. The discussion during the lectures will provide students with the ability to independently meet other types of problems that may present in future professional activities.

Assessment methods and criteria

There are no ongoing testing activities. The achievement of the objectives will be assessed through an oral examination at the end of the course. At this moment, in addition to the knowledge of the topics included in the program (1st and 2nd Dublin indicator), the student must demonstrate, through the development and solution of specific problems, to have acquired good reasoning skills and exposure (3rd , 4th and 5th Dublin indicator).

Other information

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